White Party Cheese & Drink Pairings and Tips for a casual picnic or chic gathering!
Looking for ideas to host a fun white party or picnic? Read along for tips to keep the entertaining easy, and the party epic. The white theme helps to keep it simple or go all out. Your choice.
I recently hosted a “Cheesy White Party” in partnership with VisitCheeselandia.com and Wisconsin Cheese and the night was fueled by cheese, bubbles and laughter. If you’re a cheese lover, you’ll especially love the cheese and beverage pairings. But there’s something for everyone here.
Let’s get this Cheesy White Party started!
Easy Entertaining with Cheese
Entertaining at home shouldn’t be a daunting task. Pick a date and Make Someday Happen! Who cares if the house is a mess. We were in the middle of home renovations and rather than wait, we incorporated our home decorating into the theme of the night. The result was a fun and relaxed evening with a bit of hilarious discussion. Deciding on the perfect paint color is no easy task!
As far as food and drinks, there’s no easier way to make a party epic than a big cheese board with a variety of treats to accompany them. The diverse selection of cheeses enhanced the interaction as everyone picked their favorite cheese, treat and beverage combination.
Have you ever taken a bite of fig, blue cheese and walnut all at once? Followed by a nice sip of champagne? Decadent!
Read on for white party menu ideas, cheese and beverage pairings, and decor tips for easy entertaining at home. I promise it will be fun!
Travel Inspiration: Cheeselandia (aka Wisconsin) & Diner en Blanc (Paris)
I draw inspiration from travel when entertaining at home and this “Cheesy White Party” was doubly inspired by two epic foodie events and destinations I wish to visit.
The “Cheesy” inspiration comes from one of the most over the top cheese displays I’ve seen – ever! (and I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years.) The “Visit Cheeselandia” industry event hosted by Wisconsin Cheese welcomed cheese loving guests to travel to Cheeselandia – an imaginary magical land of cheese. Imagine having your choice of dozens of cheeses with every sort of accompaniment you can think of!
The event was catered by the team of Swine & Sons in Winter Park and their housemade charcuterie, pates, pickled veggies and more were the perfect complement to the delicious cheeses.
I was thrilled to be chosen a Visit Cheeselandia Ambassador. My duties? To host an epic cheese party and share with friends. A beautiful box of cheeses and party goodies arrived at my door. What came next was a fun night with friends.
“Cheeselandia is a magical manifestation of what makes Wisconsin wonderful. It’s a state of mind and state of mouth that brings the warm hospitality of Wisconsin to your home.”
The comment heard repeatedly throughout the night was the same I had on my first Visit Cheeselandia experience: “I had no idea Wisconsin had such a variety of delicious cheeses.” They’ve been making cheese for over 175 years, so I’ve added a visit to the Wisconsin Cheese dairy farmers to my “someday list.” I bet they host the most epic cheesy parties ever!
The “White Party” aspect of the night was inspired by another epic event – Le Diner en Blanc. The all-white chic picnic has been hosted in cities around the globe for over 30 years. I had a chance to attend twice in Orlando and get a taste of this labor-intensive yet over the top experience. Attending Diner en Blanc at its original location is on my ‘someday list’ Could you imagine an epic all white party in Paris, France!?
White Party Cheese & Beverage Pairings
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to cheese and beverage pairings. Have fun with it. Drink what you like. And if you’re not sure about pairings, open a bottle of champagne because bubbles go with everything.
When choosing accompaniments and beverage pairings for cheeses, I like to think of things that often go together (like apples and cheddar) as well as things that are opposites (like sweet and smoky flavors). Check out my Epic Cheese and Wine pairing tips here.
You want a good mix of cheeses on your board – from young to aged, soft to hard, mild to pungent. The selection below worked well together.
Check your grocer’s cheese case or ask your favorite cheese shop owner for help. La Femme de Fromage in East End Market is a wonderful resource. Whole Foods Market and Earth Fare also carry a nice selection of cheeses. Get some info on each cheese to share with your guests. The cheese and wine geeks in the room will love it!
Salemville Smokehaus Blue:
This extra creamy, applewood smoked blue cheese has a sweet and slightly smoky flavor. It was the top hit of the night, even for those who don’t normally go for the “stinky” blue cheeses. The smokiness cuts through the pungency of the blue cheese so nicely. My friend Anna-Marie shared her thoughts on BeautyandTheBeets.com.
- Accompaniments: I served it with sliced fresh pears, walnuts, dried figs and dates.
- Beverage pairing: I chose a sweet sparkling pear cider as well as Italian prosecco. Apple cider or a fruity spritzer are perfect non-alcoholic options. For a fancier spread, go for a Sauterne dessert wine. A sticky port wine was recommended but I wanted to stay away from red wines for this white party.
Deer Creek Vat 17 World Cheddar:
This bold and complex cheese is a far cry from what most of us know as cheddar. It was my top favorite of the night with its tangy nuttiness and hard crumbly texture.
- Accompaniments: The folks from Wisconsin Cheese recommend mustard to bring out the umami flavors. I served wasabi peas as well as pistachios to add a bit of fun. The piquante notes of wasabi are very similar to mustard. Sliced fresh apples add a touch of freshness.
- Beverage pairing: a crisp hard apple cider did the trick.
Roelli Cheese Haus – Red Rock
This is an American style, naturally bloomy rinded cheddar cheese with a slight blue vein. Richly colored with annatto and cave aged to maturity, it packs mild flavor with a creamy texture. It was the most surprising cheese of the night. The color and blue vein lead you to expect a strong flavor but it had a very nice balance depending on your bite.
- Accompaniments: dried apricots are not too sweet to distract. Plus the pop of orange color looked great on the board.
- Beverage pairing: a fruity saison style beer and apple cider were both complementing.
Yellow Door Creamery Monteau:
Aged 120 days, this semi-hard cheese delivers the perfect balance of taste with intense fruity flavors and a hit of butter and hazelnut.
- Accompaniments: green grapes and a variety of nuts including Macadamia nuts to complement the buttered brioche flavors.
- Beverage pairing: an oaked Chardonnay was lovely. A fruity sangria would have been nice too.
La Bottega Di Belgioioso Artigiano Aged Balsamic & Cipollini Onion
Once aged to perfection, cheesemakers flavor Artigiano Classico with tangy balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy and sweet cipollini onions from Calabria. The best way to eat this cheese is with the rind so you get all the flavors.
- Accompaniments: To capitalize on the Italian connection I served an assortment of Italian charcuterie – Prosciutto, Sopressata, and hard salami. The saltiness of the meats complements the sweetness of the cheese.
- Beverage pairing: Italian prosecco kept it light and fruity. A bold Sangiovese would be nice too.
Cheesy White Party Menu Ideas
Cheese plays well with others… don’t serve it by itself. As you saw above, each cheese has epic friends to serve along side it.
White Party Appetizers & Hearty Dishes
I focused on colors as much as possible when choosing my menu to stay within a white and light palate. Yellow and orange added pops of color while keeping it as monochromatic as possible.
- Veggie Crudite Platter: crisp, fresh veggies add a nice contrast to the creamy cheeses. I used yellow and orange heirloom cherry tomatoes, tri-color heirloom baby carrots, celery sticks, baby cucumbers, cauliflower florets, jicama, yellow and orange sweet bell peppers, and baby artichoke hearts.
- Dips: Mediterranean Herbs Hummus, White Bean Dip, and Yogurt Dips (such as a French Onion Greek Yogurt Dip)
- Charcuterie board: choose a variety of meats such as prosciutto, assorted salami, and Sopressata. Keep them on a separate board especially if you have any vegetarian guests.
- Assorted crackers and chips such as kettle chips, wasabi peas, mini pretzels, and breadsticks.
- Assorted Nuts: Marcona almonds, raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, Macadamia nuts, and candied pecans.
- Assorted olives and pickled veggies
- For a heartier dish, I prepared a super easy Shrimp Pasta Salad. Toss farfalle bowtie pasta with shrimp, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, fresh basil, mint, and a mix of veggies such as sweet peppers, asparagus, and arugula. Top with crumbled feta cheese. It was so good I made extra and had leftovers for lunch.
White Party Desserts:
White party desserts are so easy. Stroll down the candy and bulk aisle of your grocery store. Anything covered in white chocolate or yogurt is perfect for a white dessert board. I also did a white trail mix for a fun snack. White desserts from your favorite bakery can be as simple as cupcakes or as fancy as a trifle or pavlova. You can also do what I did, and make rice krispie treats!
- White Trail Mix: cashews, macadamia nuts, walnuts, coconut flakes, white chocolate chips and golden raisins.
- White Desserts Board: Yogurt dipped pretzels, White Chocolate mini Kit Kat Bars, White Chocolate mini Reese’s, Mini Marshmallows, toffee candies, caramels, Rafaello White chocolate truffles.
- Rice Krispy Treats: I haven’t made these since college. They were a big hit! I topped the gooey treat with Heath bar toffee chips and that instantly upped the fancy factor.
- Meringues, Sugar Cookies and White Cupcakes are easy too!
Cheesy White Party Decor Tips
Keep it simple and clean with fresh white flowers. Candles, natural wood and metallic gold and silver accents work well too. Don’t stress out about decor. The attendees of Diner en Blanc definitely go all out but you don’t have to, if you don’t want to. I scattered paint chip cards from Home Depot on my tables. Talk about easy and free!
One of the reasons I chose to throw a white party was because I bought a white couch. It’s rather “grown up” and I’m a bit apprehensive about the possibilities for stains since we practically eat every meal in the living room. Having a group of friends over to enjoy food and drinks on the couch was the best way to break it in and make it feel “livable”. Of course, the white foods and drinks (read – lack of red wine anywhere!) made it easier to let go and enjoy.
As I mentioned before, we’re in the process of home renovations and rather than wait until the house was perfect and done, we used the opportunity to get our friends input and decide on a paint color for the walls. My mission is to #MakeSomedayHappen after all! So go for it!
Have you ever tried to decide on the right white and tan color? It’s madness! I can’t say if everyone’s opinions helped but it definitely made the night much more interactive. I think color #4 had the most votes. What do you think?
Are you inspired to host your own Cheesy White Party? I hope these tips help. Check out the Wisconsin Cheese selection in your grocery store and have fun with it.
For more inspiration, my friend and wine & cheese educator Lisa Wilk of TasteCookSip.com “Traveled the world, one Wisconsin cheese at a time!” for her Cheeselandia party. Check it out. It was a very ‘gouda’ party!
Got any other menu ideas to fit the white theme? Share in the comments and tag your photos on Facebook and Instagram with @goepicurista and #MakeSomedayHappen. I love to see your epic celebrations!
Disclosure: I was an invited media guest of InterContinental Miami for promotional purposes. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! You can read more about my guidelines in my disclosure policy. Cheers!